This One’s For Maggie Wetzel.

I have a secret. I’ve been keeping it for a couple weeks.

(I’ve stopped consuming meat and dairy.)

NOW WAIT A MINUTE! Before you you start doing your impersonation of Wildflower, the hippy vegan who makes her own underwear out of daisies and eats mostly hemp grown from her own compote soil, give me a hot minute to explain! (Oh? That’s MY favorite improv stock character? Well this is awkward…)

I’ve been tired lately. Like, not-enough-energy-to-make-it-through-the-day kind of lethargy. And I’m twenty three. With plenty of time on my hands, hours of web pages and documentaries, and a minor vanity-check, I arrived at veganism’s chic, shrouded, controversial green door. I thought, “30 days? What the vegan hay! I’ll try it!” After a single week, my energy DID double. And the bizarre twist? I feel the exact opposite of deprived. I have never eaten so much freaking food, and I’m having the time of my life playing in my kitchen, discovering new fruits and vegetables. (Can we talk about fresh peaches?! How about BEETS?!)

Now, out for brunch with friends? Yes! to that delicious blue-cheese-and-onion-scone. My roommate’s amazing-apple-crisp-with-butter-in-the-crust? I’ll go to town all over that crumbly goodness. And if my Greek Aunt and Uncle want to make me gloriously cheesy, creamy, meaty food: I will devour whatever is placed in front of me. That’s about one non-vegan meal per week.

What fascinates me is how self-conscious I am. It’s complex and a little on the hilarious/crazy side. I’ll beat around the bush for miiiiiles, “Well I’ve been avoiding cheese. Yogurt too I guess. Mostly, I try not to eat red meat. Or chicken. No fish, really. Yeah. Anything with a face. Well… most of the time. Like, almost never. Well. Never. It’s just that I’ve been enjoying fruits and vegetables so much… Well Yeah, I guueeeess you could say I was vegan.” Then there’s the pretend-to-be-hungover-instead-of-admitting-I-really-don’t-want-that-cupcake maneuver OR the unbelievably bizarre blurt confession:

  • Friend from College: How’s your family doing?
  • Awkward Vegan Jess: Really well. Family vacation recently. I pretended to be married to my brother. BYTHEWAY! I’M A VEGAN. BUT I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT. I DON’T WANT TO BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE…. So. What’s new with you?

My conclusion? Self-consciousness is karmic payback for the judgies.

When my very first friend, first went vegan: I was convinced it was an eating disorder (Dear Author of “Skinny Bitch”, there MUST be a better way to market this lifestyle). Then I focused on the impractical difficulty of veganism (Wait… Sarah didn’t starve to death while being vegan on a bus?), then I thought it was annoyingly conscientious (How odd that my hometown was featured 3 times on Food Inc…).

I suppose I have to assume, via cosmic logic, all that negativity will be coming back my way now. But eff all that: I’m loving everything about this choice. I’ve achieved three years of New Year’s Resolutions, I can finally cook! I hate the feeling of being sold on something, so I’ll refrain from gushing about my clear skin, energy to burn, loose clothing, or extraordinarily regular bowel movements (besides, my dad would be horrified if I talked about poop on my blog).

What I insist on sharing is this, an incredible TED Talk by Brene Brown about authenticity and the power/difficulty of being vulnerable. The question I’ve inevitably arrived at: Why am I so hesitant to share my excitement? Why the fear of being upfront about something prevalent in my life? What have I got to lose? And why, on God’s green-delicious-earth, have I been wasting my time judging other people’s happiness?

What’s your secret pleasure? Call someone this week and gush about it.



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